In some parts of the world, it is a tradition to serve food on banana leaves. Guests are given the top part of the leaf while family members are given the lower parts. Everybody sits together on the floor and eats with hands. Rice meat, vegetables, lentils, curries and pickles are all served on the same leaf. However, the humble leaf has not been recognized for its amassing anti-oxidant qualities in the West.
In addition to their value as food wrappers for cooking, banana leaves contain large amounts of polyphenols such as epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, also found in green tea.
Polyphenols are natural antioxidants found in many plant-based foods. Epigallocatechin gallate belongs to the family of catechins. It contains 3 phenol rings and has very strong antioxidant properties. Epigallocatechin gallate is the main active component ii green tea leaves as well.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF EPIGALLOCATECHIN GALLATE
There are many claims about the health benefits of Epigallocatechin gallate mostly due to the potent antioxidant activity. It is believed this protects our cells from oxidative damage from free radicals. Free radicals are produced by the stressors that our modern life puts on our bodies. A number of chronic diseases have been associated with free radical damage, including cancer, arteriosclerosis, heart diseases and accelerated aging.
Epigallocatechin gallate can protect the DNA in the human cells from ultraviolet and visible radiation-induced damage and is effective in promoting fat oxidation and lowering body weight. So the banana leaf being packed with Epigallocatechin is a very beneficial ingredient in a skin rejuvenation treatment.
The wrapped banana leaves that form the plant’s stem contain starch, which is extracted through a fermentation or cooking process. People in some parts of the world use the resulting flour for baking. The starch is also cooked into glue.
Banana leaves have a waxy coating that has a subtle but distinct flavour. When hot food is placed on the leaves, the wax melts and lends its flavour to the food, making it taste better.
Most people use plastic or Styrofoam plates when they need disposable plates, however banana leaves are a much more eco-friendly option. They decompose in a very short time, unlike plastic, which takes hundreds of years to biodegrade.
Banana leaves do not require a lot of cleaning – they just need to be rinsed with a little water and they are ready to use. If you are eating at a place where the hygiene standards are questionable, you are much better off eating from a banana leaf than from a plate that has not been cleaned properly.
Since metal plates are washed with water and soap, traces of the chemicals in the soap may still remain on the plates, contaminating your food. Banana leaves just need to be rinsed with a little water, and do not need to be washed with soap, so your food will be chemical-free.
The banana leaf is quite large, making it capable of holding an entire meal that consists of several different components. The leaves are also waterproof, thanks to their waxy coating, so they can hold the gravy preparations without getting soggy.
Here are some of the benefits of banana leaves for the skin:
- Natural herbs can treat minor skin wounds and other skin disorders such as dandruff, eczema, and sunburn. Use juice of fresh banana leaf juice will gradually heal from the root disturbance. You can also soak the leaves with cold water and apply on skin sunburn.
- Banana leaves have medicinal properties that can relieve poisonous insect bites, bee stings, spider bites, rashes, skin irritation. The leaves are popularly known as a natural eraser.
- Cosmetic creams and lotions contain active ingredients are expensive so-called Allantoin found in plant leaves. Allantoin helps faster healing, kills germs and stimulates new skin cell growth.